The low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet has proven effective at controlling seizures in epilepsy patients, according to a statement from McGill University Jan. 16.
In a new study, scientists at McGill and the University of Zurich discovered there's a direct link between metabolism and the neurological signals that cause epileptic seizures.
Research shows that epileptic patients who consumed a ketogenic diet (which is very low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat) were able to inhibit seizure-related brain activity.
The findings are exciting because scientists previously thought metabolism and brain-cell signaling were unrelated. Showing these two processes are related confirms its possible to manage epilepsy through diet alone — without drugs. While drugs are commonly used to treat epileptic seizures, many patients complain about side effects.
"Drugs that alleviate anxiety, induce anesthesia, or even control epilepsy work by strengthening brain inhibition," said Derek Bowie, Canada Research Chair in Receptor Pharmacology at McGill, who the led the study. "These pharmacological approaches can have their drawbacks, since patients often complain of unpleasant side effects."
This isn't the first time the low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet has proven effective at treating disease. Previous studies confirmed the ketogenic diet is more effective than drugs at curbing epileptic seizures (in both adults and children).
The ketogenic diet has also been touted for its ability to produce rapid weight loss, reverse diabetes, prevent dementia, and heart disease.
Neurologist Dr. David Perlmutter recently told me the ketogenic diet prevents (and in some instances reverses) Alzheimer's disease and ADHD. He detailed the research in his No. 1 New York Times best-seller, Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar—Your Brain's Silent Killers.
Nationally renowned obesity expert Dr. Eric Westman said his patients at the Duke University Obesity Center rapidly lost dramatic amounts of weight on the ketogenic diet and reversed their high cholesterol and diabetes.
"Eat lots of fat," said Dr. Westman, author of A Low Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet Manual. "There's no problem with fat.
"In fact, saturated fat — the fat that we've been taught not to eat — raises your good cholesterol best of all the foods you can eat. Hypertension gets better, heartburn gets better, fatty liver. The list goes on and on."